Of Sex, Gluttony, and Scripture

{By Taylor Cartee}

I have the good fortune of having a gym buddy who is much stronger and leaner than I am, and always willing to encourage and help me reach my fitness goals.

Recently we were talking about how we met our husbands, and I mentioned that JC and I never lived together before we were married. She asked if we ever slept together prior to marriage, and I replied in the negative. Her response? “Well if you have that much self control, you shouldn’t have any trouble dieting!”

on sex, gluttony and scripture

I’ve been pondering her words for several weeks now, because consistent clean eating and moderation is the greatest obstacle to my fitness goals.

Premarital abstinence was never difficult for me.

The idea of sinning against God and JC by abusing a precious gift was frankly revolting. But eating not one, but three doughnuts at church even though I know they’ll make me uncomfortably bloated for the rest of the day? Give me the sugar! My husband finally looked at me one day and calmly announced, “You are such a glutton.”

Of the traditional “Seven Deadly Sins,” lust certainly gets a lot of attention.

But when was the last time you heard someone discuss the sin of gluttony?

According to Noah Webster’s 1828 Dictionary, gluttony is “Excess in eating; extravagant indulgence of the appetite for food.” Ultimately, gluttony is a form of selfishness: my desires prevail over God’s good design. God made my body to require certain macronutrients (carbohydrates, fats, and protein) and a balance of those nutrients provides the proper fuel. A doughnut here or there doesn’t interfere with this process, but over time a consistent imbalance or overabundance of those nutrients can lead to unhealthy weight gain and a variety of associated health problems.

I’m learning that I’ll never make progress in this area until I recognize my gluttony for what it is: sin.

Gluttony occurs when I over-eat just because I’m enjoying the taste of the food, regardless of whether it will help or harm my body. I need to cultivate respect for the body God gave me, and take care that my taste buds are not the chief governor of my diet. May I say with the Psalmist, “How sweet are your words to my taste, sweeter than honey to my mouth!” (Psalm 119:103)

Here are some practical steps you can take:

1. Journal. For one week, keep track of everything you eat, and roughly how much. This will help you identify your weaknesses. Some people like to use an app that tracks the particulars, but if you’re generally aware of what is healthy and what isn’t, and old-fashioned, handwritten log should do the trick. I learned that my pitfall was sneaking handfuls of chocolate chips and pecans from my pantry.

2. Measure. When you do eat unhealthy foods, such as chips or ice cream, consult the nutrition information label, and measure out the suggested serving size. I found that the suggested ½ cup of ice cream is a lot less than what I’d been serving myself!

3. Set Goals. Maybe you only eat dessert in social settings, or perhaps you cut back on fast food or takeout. One of my goals is to try one new healthy food or recipe each week.

4. Pray. Ask God to help you view food as fuel for serving Him, and thank Him for the foods you enjoy. Pray that you would delight in Him more than your delight in dessert.

What do you think about gluttony? Comment below! 

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